I’m new to DPW as an artist seller but not to the site, I’ve followed it for a number of years now. What I noticed as a seller is that at any given time there are approximately 2,500 auctions going per day, and only about 1% have active bidding. It seems to me that there must be something that deters more bidders. I use pinterest, fbook, blog, and word of mouth to direct people to my dpw auctions and while there are plenty of views, limited bids (now the obvious answer is perhaps the works are not good, subject matter not interesting, etc but I think given the sheer number of auctions listed and the relatively low percentage of sales through the site has me perplexed. Thoughts, explanations, ideas??
Welcome to DPW! For folks who don’t know me, I am Carol Marine’s husband and the developer and co-owner of DPW. This is a topic that Carol and I have talked about quite a lot recently.
One important thing to keep in mind is that while DPW does offer auctions, they are only offered as one way to sell work through DPW. Yes, selling through online auctions was a key part of the original “Daily Painting” approach, however they are not, in any way, suggested to be or presented as the “preferred” way to sell through DPW.
Carol and I don’t believe that there is anything fixable that is actively deterring sales through auctions in DPW. If we did, you can trust we would be working hard to identify and remove the deterrence. Instead our best thoughtful guess is it is a matter of naturally evolving preferences and expectations and that this change is not specific to DPW.
We think that just as Google changed expectations with search, Amazon is doing the same with online purchasing. Folks have (especially in my case!) become accustomed to Amazon Prime’s two day delivery. This is to say that people are growing to prefer having something sooner rather than later and so are inclined toward immediate purchases instead having to wait 5 to 7 days for an auction to end with the risk they may not even win the bidding.
Carol has been selling her work almost exclusively through auctions since the early days of the Daily Painting movement. This has worked well for her in great part because the size of her following usually results in several bidders bidding on each painting. She has, however, for just the reasons given above, been thinking about giving immediate purchase PayPal links a try.
Happily, we designed just the flexibility needed into DPW from the beginning! In DPW you are free to chose to use our auctions or you can, instead, quickly and easily use DPW generated PayPal links for immediate purchases. In both cases, DPW will manage the sale, mark the work as sold and paid, and gather the transaction’s and the buyer’s information. Note that DPW only charges a sales commission on auction sales. There are no commissions or fees when selling with PayPal links or with any other way.
Alternately, you can chose not to use either our auctions or our PayPal links, but instead copy and paste in a buy URL to another online venue, such to as an eBay auction or an Etsy page. With such offsite sales, DPW is not able to track the sale, however, it is easy to do so manually through your DPW Art Tracking Grid.
If you want, you can take a look at how sales through DPW are trending. Just go to our What’s Selling page and click on the Statistics button to see a chart of auction, PayPal, and other sales over the last few years. You will see that while DPW auction sales are declining, PayPal and other sales are growing.
Aug 22, 2017 Update: After further thought and experimentation, Carol has decided to go back to selling through DPW auctions. She found her prices end up being higher with auctions. It is important to keep in mind that Carol has developed a large following over the years and so there are usually several bidders competing on each auction.
I’d agree that auction sales seem to have reduced in number, which is why I have changed my work over to a direct purchase link via Paypal. The last piece I sold on DPW was almost a year ago, but several have sold in the UK off another website, all to UK buyers (which is where I am anyway).
I have noticed that a number of sellers don’t post goods to anywhere outside the USA. Obviously they have their own reasons for this, but I have endeavoured to spread my chances; all my DPW sales have gone to USA buyers.
It’s very evident too that oil paintings are the biggest sellers on DPW, which might encourage some people to focus on that medium; although it would be a shame to see the variety on here disappear, I regularly browse the other sections and there is a lot of great work there.
One other thing, which I doubt is an issue right now (but might be later) is this push by Google to encourage website owners to update their sites to using the https protocol…David will already know about all this. As it is at present, my Firefox browser shows DPW to be an insecure website…would this put people off making purchases? I know that anyone buying through Paypal goes directly to their secure website to complete the transactions, but we’re dealing with a lot of folk who aren’t tech savvy and thus don’t think about such things.
I do wonder whether, also, social media is trouncing websites regarding visitors and sales. I have no experience of using social media for sales, these things have been discussed before and we all seem to have different views and results. I have a little website of my own (still on http, as I write) but no social media links bar Pinterest. Some people just run blogs rather than websites, because they consider the blog to be more dynamic; you know what people are like these days, demanding fresh content every day. Ironically, the DPW website delivers precisely that…fresh daily content!
@microdaisy: You are absolutely correct about Google pushing to encourage websites to go fully HTTPS and it is for good reasons.
While DPW has for a long while protected the sign in, registration, account info, and other sensitive pages with HTTPS encryption, it was not implemented site wide. It used to be understood that this was enough but no longer.
I do agree that the “insecure” warning in the browser could concern potential buyers who don’t understand that all their transactions with DPW are through PayPal, which is secure. Converting the website over to HTTPS, which is a time consuming and tedious task, has long been on my list. Your post convinced me to finally complete the conversion. Now all of DPW is HTTPS.
As always, I very much appreciate the feedback!
It’s nice to know I’m useful for something …guess I’d better get on and do my own site now. Sorry to other readers if my post was a bit technical, I didn’t intend to hijack the thread.
Incidentally David, I can see the green padlock now in my browser!
I enjoyed reading your response.
I generally use DPW auctions when I’m painting and have been relatively successful. I’ll give ‘Buy it Now’ a try as I can appreciate people not wanting to hang around. I’m assuming that either way, the image will show up in the ‘What’s New’ gallery?
For myself, I quit looking at the paintings because they are so small. There are only so many tiny paintings a person needs.
And, of course, we can combine the two. You can set up an auction with a “buy now” option attached. Best of both worlds.
This maybe a small thing, but it could be important. Maybe supplying a close up image as well as the whole image would help. It can be difficult to see the brushwork without a close up, which I think is an important aspect of a painting.
In a physical gallery I would approach a painting to see how the paint was applied. I think we’ve all seen our painting reduced in size, and seen how good it looks…surprisingly good (especially on a monitor). So maybe a portion of the painting captured at the actual size would be beneficial for buyers. I believe you can upload more than one image of your painting…at least with a paid account.
Very interesting thread! One thing from my personal experience: if someone comments on a painting I post on Facebook and asks if it’s for sale, I give them the DPW link…and generally never hear from them again! The one exception was a former co-worker who I felt comfortable enough to follow up with and they said, “ugh–I don’t want to have to create an account on a new web site just to buy your painting. Can’t you just sell it to me?” So I waited for the auction to end (no bids) and sold it to her.
I like all the options for auctions-- the BIN and also being able to vary the length of the auction. I usually do 7 days, but may try out a shortie auction sometime.
As for sales, I think this comes and goes. David, I’m sure the “secure” thingy for DPW will help a lot. Thanks, Christine for mentioning it.
As for social media for sales, I’ve sold things by posting on FB with a link to DPW.
I also have come to the conclusion that chasing the chimera of “sales” simply leads to getting bogged down, and can even lead to creative block, and I’m better off just painting it & putting it out there where people can see it.
I watched a couple of episodes of a TV program called Thrift Hunters (or something like that). The people in the program go to thrift stores, yard sales, discount warehouses and places like that and buy things super cheaply. After that the thrift hunters mark up the prices and sell on various websites. One of the men said that he has to “add value” to the items and one of the ways he does that is to attractively photograph the item and write a description. He said the description adds value. I notice that many people who sell paintings on DPW do not have any discussion about the painting or the process. The would be a very efficient way to add value. Food for thought.
I am fairly new to DPW. So far I have not tried the Buy It Now PayPal option for a number of reasons. I am afraid if I use it for a painting, it would be just my luck that that particular painting would be in a show where I could not remove it and I would forget to change the status in DPW. Also how can you calculate the shipping if you don’t know where the buyer lives? Are there any other instances where an artist would be reluctant to offer a painting with Buy It Now with PayPal? How do others deal with BIN problems? I use PayPal all the time for eBay and my own purchases. I suppose if a patron buys a painting using BIN option with PayPal and the painting is no longer available (and I forgot to mark it so on DPW), I could refund them, but that may not do much good for my credibility. I was given advice by a gallery director who said the BIN / PayPal was the best way to go on an online gallery. Any thoughts on this would be helpful for me to decide how to go with this. Hope I am making some sense with my ramblings here.
Calculating shipping has to be done on a country by country basis, i.e if you intend to post work outside your home country. I just had to wrap up an average sized canvas-board, weigh it, and then use the British Royal Mail online calculator to work out the costs for sending within the UK and then overseas to USA, Canada, Europe and beyond. It does take a bit of time (and I have to convert to dollars as well!). When you’ve got your figures, you can then set up shipping “rules” during the process of adding your new work to the DPW website.
Alternatively, you could just add an arbitrary figure to your painting price that will cover postage to anywhere, and then do “free” postage in your submission form.
Quite a few of my own pictures are on one or two other websites, I simply have to get online immediately and make changes if something sells…you could try keeping a little notebook and make a list of the places where you have work for sale…then refer to it when you get a sale through. Unfortunately being organised is essential if you have “multiple exposures” for your paintings.
The chances of a painting being purchased by two separate people on two separate websites are not all that high (unless you’re a very well-known artist)…I’ve never had it happen to me…but it is certainly possible. Just have to keep on top of things and alert.
Thank you Christine. Yes, I do keep good records on a computer data base of all my art works. I have over 800 in my DB and with all the shows I do, the websites and my blog it is still hard to keep track of where they all are and have been. Art business is a big job!
I have been selling artwork through DailyPaintworks Auctions and Buy It Now for five years and I have also noticed a trend away from auctions, especially those of longer duration. Thank you, David for your thoughtful and thorough explanation.
I think the same way, and it is nice to not worry about sales and keep on painting! Even if I have a few around here, at least I enjoy looking at them.
I might get some comments back that someone needs sales even if I don’t and that’s not it at all. I do want sales, but it trying to figure out the where and the why etc., was time consuming…and I wasn’t getting anywhere on that front anyway.
I think it can be crippling to “need” to sell. That said, I confess that I am not much concerned about marketing my work right now. But I trust in the value of having my work seen–getting the wider exposure that is provided here. Being part of this community of artists and occasionally receiving positive comments gives me a boost. I really enjoy seeing work by other artists too, and seeing that all sorts of artists succeed. If I start selling here, eventually, great. Business savvy comes gradually. This forum helps there too. Thanks to all who participate.
Just want to say thanks, David, for the HTTPS stuff. I’ve also been wondering about that affecting sales.
I have had people tell me they will not create new accounts (DPW) for their pc. I guess this confirms it for me that we are limited to only DPW account holders.